American Idol host and judges

‘American Idol’ Not Ending After All? Ryan Seacrest Casts Doubt On Season 15 Being Last Year Of Iconic Show

American Idol debuted last week for its 15th and, it was assumed, final season, but as Entertainment Weekly reported, the show’s hosts were told not to use the phrase “final season” during a Television Critics Association press tour on Friday — opting instead for “farewell season.” In response to a question about the very specific terminology, Idol host Ryan Seacrest suggested that the show might not be dead yet.

“We’re all pleased people are watching, and some are coming back to watch the show who maybe didn’t watch it the last couple years. So when you got a franchise with this heritage, and you’ve got a franchise [watched by] X-amount of millions of people, that sustains. Does that mean it’s the end? I’m not so sure.”

When the apparent cancellation of Idol was first announced in May, 2015, The Inquisitr reported that the show brought in about 10 million viewers a week, down significantly from its all-time high of 30 million. This year’s premiere brought in 10.9 million viewers, getting the highest numbers in the 18-49 demographic.

'American Idol' judges
‘American Idol’ may have life left yet. Host Ryan Seacrest and judges Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez discussed the possibility as part of a Television Critics Association panel on January 15, 2016. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment)

Variety reported that judge Jennifer Lopez supported Fox in whatever choice it makes with regards to Idol, although she said on the TCA panel that she might be on board if the show continued.

“At the end of the day, you never know. This is an amazing, amazing journey to watch and people are still tuning in.”

The same report also noted that a tweet sent out by Variety about Idol possibly surviving to see another season was retweeted by the official Idol Twitter account, perhaps indicating support for the idea.

Scott Borchetta, who returns this season as mentor to the late-stage contestants, said ending Idol on a high note might be best for the series. None of the panelists claimed to have any knowledge of why Idol chose to pull the plug. Judge Harry Connick, Jr., said the on-air talent is preoccupied with completing the tasks of this season, according to TV Guide.

“This is the farewell season. We’re all sad about that, but I don’t think any of us are focusing on that. We’re focused on the job at hand, which is to find the next great superstar, which ‘American Idol’ has been pretty good at.”

By making reference to an American classic rock band, Keith Urban quipped that a revival was always possible.

“The Eagles had at least three farewell tours.”

Whether or not Idol comes back, it has an entire season of shows to go. The upcoming episodes promise to pay tribute to Idol‘s greatest superstars, and will include an appearance by Kelly Clarkson. She was the first to win the program and went on to achieve international success. TV Guide reported that Clarkson will guest-judge the first live show and appear in the finale.

Kelly Clarkson 'American Idol'
The first winner of ‘American Idol,’ Kelly Clarkson, will come back to judge the first live show of Season 15. She will also have a role in the season finale. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images Entertainment)

Other faces from Idol past, including infamous judge Simon Cowell, will also show up in some capacity — likely on the season’s last show. Past Idol winners were also on hand at the TCA event, including Ruben Studdard, Jordin Sparks, David Cook and last year’s winner Nick Fradiani, indicating they will help celebrate Idol‘s 15th year.

American Idol will wrap up in April this year, finishing off a shorter season than in years past. Fans can watch the action Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. on Fox.

[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment]